Manuka Doctor ApiNourish rejuvenating face mask review

Bee venom seems to be the next big thing for anti-ageing skincare. I was recently introduced to Manuka doctors, and after reading about all the different products, I decided to play it safe and try out their ApiNourish rejuvenating face mask first:

Manuka Doctor ApiNourish rejuvenating face mask, Manuka doctor bee venom face mask,
Manuka Doctor ApiNourish rejuvenating face mask*

A few years ago, there was a lot of buzz about the skincare benefits of honey, and it seems that bee venom is just as good, if not better. Korean research has shown it to be anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing and beneficial against acne and spots, which is perfect for me as despite being in my twenties, I find a lot of the anti-ageing products too rich for my combination skin and consequently break out in spots as a result.

So onto the mask itself. On application, it feels more like a thick cream than a tradtional face mask. Because of this it doesn't fully dry, but after a few minutes, there's a very slight tingling sensation. It's got quite a long treatment time (15-30 minutes) so I usually sit down and relax with an epiosde of my favourite TV show whilst I've got this on.

Because the face mask doesn't dry, it rinses off really easy with luke warm water, and afterwards my skin feels temporarily more plumped up and hydrated. With continued use, I've noticed it helping to even out my skintone too, and acne scars seem to fade away quicker.

Overall, I do like this facemask. At £49.99 for a pot, it doesn't come cheap, but you don't use much per application and I reckon I can get at least 10-15 treatments out of this one jar. Plus anything that keeps my skin looking young whilst helping to prevent spots gets a big thumbs up from me.

Manuka Doctor ApiNourish rejuvenating face mask, RRP £49.99, available in store and online at superdrug.com

Have you tried anything from Manuka Doctors? What are you favourite anti-ageing treatments?

Primark purchases

Working near Oxford Street, I've gotten into the habit popping by and doing some shopping during my lunch break. And after seeing all the Youtube hauls, the new Tottenham Court Road Primark was at the top of my list! Here's what I ended up with:

Primark haul march 2013, Primark chiffon collar dress, Primark necklace
Collared chiffon dress - £17
Gold chain necklace - £4

Primark haul, Primark haul march 2013, Primark studded clutch, Primark sandals, Primark belt
Studded clutch - £6
Floral sandals - £6
Pastel pink belt - £1

Unfortunately they seem to have completely sold out of their super cosy winter tights, else there'd be a few pairs in this haul too. If you haven't tried them yet, then they're basically thick fleece lined tights that are an absolute essential in this weather.

Rather unintentionally, my purchases were all very Spring like, and I clearly have a thing for soft pinks this year. The accessories were a complete bargain and I can't wait for it to be warm enough to wear the chiffon dress.

On a little side note, if you live/work near Oxford Street, then I'd definitely recommend the new Totttenham Court Rd Primark over their flagship Marble Arch store. It was just as big (if not bigger), they had more sizes in stock, and the store was so much quieter and more browsable.

Have you made any Primark purchases recently? What do you think about the new Tottenham Court Rd Primark?

Neom invigorate reed diffuser review

Neom are fast becoming one of my favourite brands. During the winter, I loved their scented candles, but for Spring, there's a new line of organic reed diffusers. And seeing as Invigorate was my favourite scent, it was pretty easy to pick which one to try out first:

Neom invigorate organic reed diffuser
Neom Invigorate organic reed diffuser*

Like the candle, the diffuser is made up of essential oils of grapefruit, bergamot and lime. It's got the same uplifting zesty fragrance as the candle, but without a flame, it almost seems fresher and lighter. After a while, the scent just blends into the background, but it's always noticeable after a long day away from home, and I usually turn the reed sticks around every few days to help boost the fragrance.

As always with Neom, it comes beautifully packaged, and I think the frosted glass looks suitably chic and elegant on my desk. My only complaint is that the bottle stopper is extremely hard to remove. I'd much prefer it if they used a screw top lid instead.

Bottle stopper aside, I think this is another great product from Neom. I love anything citrus scented, and the fact that it's flame free means it's great for fragracing a room when I'm out and about during the day. Definitely one to consider if you want to treat yourself or if you're looking for a nice housewarming gift for a friend.

Have you tried any of the Neom organic reed diffusers? What's your favourite Neom scent?

Ted baker cherry bomb nail duo

My nail varnish choices are very much dictated by the season. Usually by now, I'm all about the pastels, but this year because the weather's been so miserable, I'm still very much obsessed with deep burgundy's and berry reds. So when I had a chance to get a manicure, I opted for Ted Baker cherry bomb without so much as a second glance at the brighter, more Spring like shades:

Ted baker cherry bomb nail duo, Ted baker cherry bomb nail polish, Ted baker sugar rush nail polish

Ted baker cherry bomb NOTD, Ted baker cherry bomb swatch, Ted baker sugar rush swatch, Ted baker cherry bomb nail duo review
 Ted Baker cherry bomb and sugar rush NOTD

I'd describe Cherry bomb as an eyecatching raspberry red. It's one of those shades that will always look sophisticated and will go with just about everything. Being the magpie that I am though, I couldn't resist adding on a coat on Sugar rush onto my ring finger as an accent nail.

Sugar rush probably isn't opaque enough to wear by itself, but as a glittery top coat, I think it's just beautiful. It's also a quick and easy way of hiding any minor chips. I actually really liked the effect, and if glitter polish wasn't such a pain to remove, I would have happily painted the rest of my nails too.

Like most polishes, Cherry bomb was opaque in 2 coats. Drying time was average and I managed to last 3 days without any chips. Overall, a good value nail varnish set, and one that I would definitely recommend if you're not quite ready to embrace Spring pastels either.

Ted Baker cherry bomb nail duo, RRP £8.50 from Boots

Do you change your nail varnish according to the season? What's your favourite shade this month?

Spring giveaway

It's been a week of rather exciting blogging milestones for me. So I thought what better way to celebrate than with a little giveaway to say thank you to you all:

Boss orange perfume, Gosh smokey eye palette in 02 Brown, Gosh Boost your lashes mascara in Black, B Glossy shimmering lip gloss in 114 Blossom, Giveaway
Giveaway prizes:
50ml Boss orange perfume
Gosh smokey eye palette in 02 Brown
Gosh Boost your lashes mascara in Black
B Glossy shimmering lip gloss in 114 Blossom

I wanted this giveaway to be special, so choose Boss orange (one of my favourite perfumes) as the main prize. I've also included a couple of make up bits from Gosh and B beauty so you can complete your look with an eyeshadow quad, mascara and lipgloss.

For your chance to win, simply be a GFC and Bloglovin follower of Peonies and lilies, then leave a comment below telling me what you are most looking forward to this Spring. For 2 extra entries each, feel free to like my Facebook page or tweet about this giveaway.

This giveaway will be open to both UK and international readers, and will close at 11:59pm on 31st March 2013.

Good luck! 

March highlights

Over the last few months, this blog and my Instagram feed have become almost like an online diary for me. So today, I thought I'd do a summary post of some of my favourite moments from the last few weeks:

Boots, #Bootsgiveitago
 Beauty pic n mix at the #Bootsgiveitago event

Bumble and bumble haircare
 A selection of Bumble & Bumble styling products

 On Friday, I had a lovely day out with Gemma and Jayne. The day started with dim sum at my favourite restaurant followed by an afternoon of make up and new trends at the #Bootsgiveitago event. I was treated to a raspberry Ted Baker manicure and I've since discovered a new favourite lipstick. If you'd like to try some of the new trends for yourself, then make sure you pop by a Boots store on 22nd March where they'll be plenty of new make up and in store advisers on hand.

Cocktail making with Yardley perfume

I love drinking cocktails on a night out, so when Yardley offered me the chance to attend a cocktail making masterclass, I jumped at the chance. We made 3 different drinks, and thanks to Gemma, I've now come to the conclusion that gin cocktails are actually quite nice. My favourite was Mint Julep, which consisted of rum, mint, lemon and apple juice. Yum!


Bumble & Bumble and Smashbox photoshoot

Smashbox, Bumble and bumble
 Smashbox and Bumble & Bumble

Despite being a beauty blogger, I hate being photographed and I'm about as unphotogenic as they come! That said, I did rather enjoy getting a set of professional photos done with Bumble & bumble and Smashbox. The make up artist choose a flattering peachy Mimosa lipstick and I was really impressed with Bumble & Bumble styling spray. Usually I stay clear of hairsprays, but this one didn't leave my hair too crispy and it managed to hold my curls all night long.

The body shop, Cruelty free, The body shop bunny cake
The Body Shop bunny cake

Finally, animal testing is now illegal in the EU. To celebrate, I was sent this beautifully decorated Victoria sponge. The Body Shop have been campaigning for years, so this is a real achievement them. I've been sharing it with my flatmates and we've all enjoyed it as an after dinner dessert. In fact, I may just go and treat myself to another slice, it is Sunday afternoon after all!

What's been the highlight of your week? Have you got anything nice planned for the rest of this month?

Bioderma now available in the UK

Bioderma crealine H20  has become somewhat of a cult favourite amongst us beauty addicts. Previously though, it was near impossible to get hold of in this country. Well now the good news is that thanks to the high demand, Bioderma are officially launching in the UK:

Bioderma, Bioderma sensibio h20 micellar water, Bioderma crealine H20, Bioderma sebium pore refiner

Bioderma Sensibio H20 micellar water (it's only called crealine in France) will no doubt be a big seller, but they'll also be launching a whole host of other products. Planned so far are 5 of their most popular ranges.

Sensibio for sensitive skin
Sebium for acne prone oily skin
Hydrabio for dehydrated skin
Atoderm for dry atopic skin
Photoderm for advanced sun protection

Now I don't know about you, but I'm so excited about this launch. Bioderma micellar water is my eye make up remover of choice, and it'll be great to stock up without having to cross the Channel or fork out for expensive shipping on eBay. The Sebium pore refiner sounds really good too and I can't wait to give that a try, especially as my skin tends to go into oil overload during the spring/summer months. 

In the future, I would love to see Bioderma on the shelves of Boots but for now, it's available at leading pharmacies and dermatologists nationwide, John Bell & Cryoden and online at Escentual.com. This is because the range is so extensive that they want customers to have the option of consultations when buying the products.

Have you tried the infamous Bioderma micellar water? Which new product are you most excited about?

Boss Nuit and Breakfast with Gwyneth Paltrow

Last week a rather exciting email dropped into my inbox - the chance to attend a breakfast event with Hollywood superstar Gynweth Paltrow and learn all about the new Boss Nuit fragrance:

Boss Nuit, Gwyneth Paltrow
 Gwyneth Paltrow for Boss Nuit

Given that Boss orange is one of my favourite perfumes, I had high hopes for Boss Nuit and I'm pleased to say that after smelling at the event, it certainly doesn't disappoint. It's more mature than Boss orange, but with notes of peach, jasmine, white flowers, moss and sandalwood, it's femine, floral and very comforting to wear. Some perfumes never seem to settle on my skin, but after an hour or so, Boss Nuit just seems to blend in. The perfumer described it as you wearing the perfume rather than it wearing you and I think that sums it up perfectly.

Boss Nuit, Boss Nuit perfume
Boss Nuit perfume

The name and the mysterious black bottle would suggest that this is an evening fragrance, but actually given the lightness of the top notes and the floral heart, I think Boss Nuit works better as a daytime perfume. Because it blends in so well with my skin, it's just a very warming but subtle scent. One that I would happily wear to work then top up for an evening out.

Gwyneth Paltrow, Boss nuit
Gwyneth Paltrow for Boss Nuit

I always thought Gwyneth Paltrow came across quite distant and serious on screen, but in real life she was so down to earth and friendly. You could tell being a mother was her greatest achievement, and she had us all laughing at the thought of her daughter trying on numerous outfits for a Justin Bieber concert the night before. Her daughter loves perfume too, although Gwyneth is currently trying to teach her that less is more!

For a woman in her 40s she looked incredible too. Of course we all wanted to know the secret to her youthful beauty, but sadly she couldn't say which moisturiser she used. She does like thick creams and oils though, and once a week she'll treat herself to a little facial. No doubt the positive attitude helps too, and I'm going to end this post with some words of advice with the lady herself: be present in the moment, don't stress out trying to do 2 things at once and always make sure you take some time out for yourself.

Boss Nuit, RRP £34, available from Boots

Have you tried the new Boss Nuit perfume? What do you think about Gwyneth Paltrow?

Glossybox March 2013

The new Glossybox landed on my doorstep yesterday, and for March 2012, they've gone for a city chic theme. This month it's back to the standard pastel pink design, but contents wise, they've picked out some really nice samples for this box:
`

Glossybox march 2013, Glossybox my little travelling box, Glossybox magazine, Glossybox
 Glossybox March 2013 - mini magazine and my little travelling book

Glossybox march 2013, Glossybox, Juicy couture perfume, Tresemme salon finish hairspray, Nails inc bruton street, Elizabeth arden eight our cream, Jelly pong pong lip blush
 Glossybox March 2013
 Juicy Couture couture la la perfume
Tresemme salon finish extra hold hairspray
Nails Inc Bruton street nail polish
Elizabeth Arden eight hour cream
Jelly Pong pong lip blush

My star product this month has to be the Jelly Pong Pong lip stain. I've spoken about my love of moisturising lip crayons before and I think the glossy red shade is just beautiful. With the weather getting warmer, I find myself reaching for lighter colours, and Nails Inc Bruton street will be perfect for Spring.

Also included are mini samples of Elizabeth Arden eight hour cream and Juicy Couture couture la la perfume. Both are products that I've heard a lot about, so I'm looking forward to trying them over the next few days. Finally there's a Tresemme salon finish hairspray. I'm not much of a hairspray user, but I'm sure a friend would be happy to take it off my hands.

For the last few month, Glossybox have included a mini magazine, and this month they've published a little travelling book too. Inside are some essential info and top 3 places of interest for some of the most popular destinations in the world. Given that I'm hoping to go travelling later this year, this was a welcome little addition, and I can't wait to sit down and read it with a mug of hot chocolate later this evening.

Glossybox, RRP £10 plus p&p, available here.

Are you a Glossybox subscriber? What do you think about this month's contents?

Styling a bad hair day

When it comes to hair styling, I try and avoid using heat whenever possible. Sometimes though, if I'm having a bad hair day, dry shampoo and GHDs are the only way to make it presentable:


Bad hair day essentials: Ojon rare blend oil, Tresemme blow dry potion & Batiste dry shampoo

What I like about GHDs is that the plates are ceramic coated, so they're nice and smooth. Combined with a high heat, it just glides through my hair and unless my hair is being particularly stubborn, I rarely have to straighten the same bit twice.


I seem to be forever running late in the mornings, so the fact that they heat up within 30 seconds is a big plus for me. It would be nice if you could adjust the temperature, but it's reassuring to know that they've got an automatic sleep mode (I always worry about leaving them on then accidently setting the house on fire)! The quilted travel bag comes in rather handy too.


When straightening, I always start off with a good heat protector. If I've just washed my hair, I'll use a few drops of Ojon rare blend oil on the ends. Otherwise, Tresemme blow dry potion works just as well. It's usually my layers that stick out, and I find separating them into inch wide sections is the quickest way to achieve a sleek look. Once the layers are sorted, I like to run the iron through the ends of hair, curving in slightly to give it a bit of shape. Finally, a spritz of Batiste dry shampoo to boost volume at the roots, and I'm good to go!

Do you own a pair of GHDs? How do you usually style a bad hair day?

Piz Buin wet skin transparent sun spray

It may seem a little early to be talking about sunscreen, but now that the sun's finally come out, I can't stop thinking about beaches and summer holidays! Since travelling around Australia, Piz Buin have been my brand of choice and this year, they're launching a brand new wet skin transparent sun spray:

Piz Buin wet skin transparent sun spray, Piz Buin, Piz Buin wet skin transparent sun spray spf15
 Piz Buin wet skin transparent sun spray spf15

Piz Buin wet skin transparent sun spray, Piz Buin, Piz Buin wet skin transparent sun spray spf30, lightweight sunscreen
 Piz Buin wet skin transparent sun spray spf30

Wet skin transparent sun spray really struck a cord with me, as the only time I burnt was when I didn't reapply sunscreen straight after snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef. As a result, I was left with sore red shoulder and let me tell you that was not fun!

Thankfully, Piz Buin have recognised that we're often reluctant to reapply straight after going for a swim, and as a result they've developed a new lightweight sun screen. Unlike traditional creams this can cut through water and offer immediate UVA and UVB protection. It's got antioxidant vitamin E for extra free radical protection too.

The spray comes in a choice of SPF15 and 30, and I'd describe the texture as similar to that of a dry body oil. Sunscreens have come a long way in recent years, and this one pretty much sunk into my skin straight away. It leaves behind a light sheen, but no greasy after feel. And as for the smell, well let's just say if I close my eyes I could easily be on a beach somewhere warm and sunny on the east coast of Australia!

Piz Buin transparent sun spray retails for £17.99, but do keep an eye out for the Boots 2 for 1 offer.

Have you ever burnt on holiday? What's your favourite brand of sunscreen?

Babyliss Boutique Italian hair dryer review

As much as I'd love to let my hair dry naturally, sometimes it just isn't practical. On days when I've been running late or need to look polished I often find myself reaching for Babyliss boutique Italian hair dryer to speed along the process:


Now admittedly a hair dryer isn't the most exciting of beauty gadgets, but Babyliss boutique hair dryer gets the job done quickly and from an aesthetic point of view, the sleek black design looks a lot nicer than some of the other hair dryers I've used in the past.

It's got a range of user friendly features too. There are 2 speed and 3 heat settings, so you can really control the intensity at which you want it to operate. The 2.7m cord comes in rather handy too, especially as I like to sit down in front of the mirror when blow drying my hair.

In the mornings, I usually just blast the hair dryer all over, but if you want a more targeted blow dry, then it comes with an attachable slim nozzle as well as a drawstring fabric pouch for travelling. Compared to my previous models, Babyliss Boutique hairdryer is on the heavier side, but the advantage is that it's ceramic coated and has ionic technology, so helps to smooth my hair and protect it from excessive heat damage.

Since using this, it's really helped to reduce my drying time. I would prefer it if it was a little lighter, but the advanced technology and heat settings more than makes up for this. Definitely one to consider if you're on the look out for a new hair dryer.

Babyliss boutique hair dryer, RRP £74.99, available in stores and online at Boots.com

Have you tried any of the Babyliss boutique range? What are your must have hair gadgets?

Weekend beauty chat

A quick round up of the latest beauty news and offers:


1. First up, a rather barginous offer from skincare brand Clinique. They're currently selling 3 of their most popular moisturizers (Superdefence spf25, Moisture surge intense and Youth surge spf15) for just £20 each. Considering they usually retail for £32-42, it's a great opportunity to try something new or to stock up on your favourite moisturizer. Available now from Boots, whilst stocks last.

The body shop Leona lewis make up, The body shop Leona Lewis fragrance, The body shop Leona Lewis, The body shop deerlicious fuchsia lip gloss

2. Following on from their collaboration with Lily Cole, The Body Shop have just announced Leona Lewis as their latest Brand activist. Long time animal lover Leona Lewis will help to fight against animal testing and she's also put her name to a new limited edition range of make up and fragrance. My first impressions? I love the girly floral print, and I think the Deerlicious fuchsia lip gloss will be perfect for Spring!

Origins skin assessment with Marie Reynolds

3. Origins have just appointed celebrity facialist Marie Reynolds, and to celebrate she'll be doing one to one skin consultations at Selfridges, 21st March. Appointments will be £25 each, but you redeem it against any skincare purchase on the day. They'll also be giving away a full sized Modern Friction exfoliator and headband with any 2 skincare purchases. If you're interested, then make sure you call 020 7318 3655 to book an appointment.

Flutter & drum
 Flutter & Drum

4. Finally, if you like beauty and fashion blogs, then be sure to check out new website Flutter & Drum. With expert advice, how to videos, the latest trends and an events calendar, it's the perfect website to browse on a lazy Sunday afternoon. You can submit your own nail art and lash photos to show off too.

Will you be taking advantage of any of these offers? What are your favourite beauty/fashion websites?

Dove Spring 2013

For purse friendly shower gels and body lotions, Dove are one of my favourite brands. I love the creamy formulation of their products, and the high moisturiser content of the shower gels means it's perfect for lazy days when I can't be bothered to moisturise. Last night, I had the chance to check out their latest launches, and it looks like there are some lovely new products for Spring 2013:
 
Dove daily care shampoo, Dove colour defence shampoo, Dove cleanse nourish and protect, Dove Spring 13
 Dove daily care and colour defence shampoo

 Starting off with haircare. Dove have gone for a 3 step Cleanse, nourish and protect approach. Previously I've stayed away from their shampoos, as I thought it'd be too rich, but I'm pleased to see they now have a volumising and daily care range, so perfect if you have fine oily roots like myself.

Dove 60 second treatment shot, Dove self warming hair mask, Dove cleanse nourish and protect, Dove spring 13
Dove 60 second treatment shot and self warming hair mask

Despite having oily roots, I do like to deep condition the ends of my hair. Hot on the heels of Tresemme, Dove are also launching a new 60 second treatment shot, as well as a new self warming hair mask. The hair mask only activates once you mix in the serum, and seeing as I love anything gimmicky, I can't wait to give this a go!

Dove compressed deodrant, Dove spring 13
Dove compressed deodrant

Given our obsession with travel sizes and mini products, it's good to that Dove have compressed their deodrants to half the original size. It now comes in at a handy 75ml (so perfect for hand luggage) and because they've only reduced the aerosol content, it promises to last just as long as the original 150ml version.

Dove go fresh body wash, Dove go fresh pomegranate and lemon verbena, Dove cream bar
Dove go fresh body wash and cream bars 

Dove cream bar
Dove cream bar

Dove beauty blossom body lotion, Dove beauty blossom body cream, Dove spring 13
 Dove limited edition orange blossom body lotion and body cream

Finally, 2 of my favourite new products. They've extended their go fresh range with 2 new scents. I particularly like the pomegranate and lemon verbena body wash, but the blue fig and orange blossom one is rather nice too. And as for body lotions, Dove have recently launched a new limited edition beauty blossom range. I love the light fruity floral scent, and given that spring is just around the corner, I think this will one of their bestsellers.

Dove Spring 2013, RRP £1.67-4.99, available now from Boots.

Are you a fan of Dove products? What do you think about their new Spring13 launches? 
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